Vanity 2016 - ongoing
Title: Vanity: Unmasking the Cyborgian Reflection
Since its inception in 2016, my series "Vanity" has been a deeply personal exploration of timeless themes. Through self-portraits that employ compression masks commonly used after plastic surgery, I delve into the complex implications of modern beauty standards, encapsulating the convergence of social media, FaceTune, and the beauty industry, epitomized by the Instagram face.
Jia Tolentino's thought-provoking quote, "How social media, FaceTune, and plastic surgery created a single, cyborgian look," resonates powerfully within the context of this body of work. The Vanity series seeks to ignite a discourse on the prevailing culture of youth, cosmetic surgery, and the impact they have on identity and self-expression. These images serve as a poignant reflection on the questions of who we truly are and how cherished reflections and familial connections are at risk of being lost.
In a society obsessed with outward appearances, the compression mask symbolizes the relentless pressures placed upon individuals to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. Unwittingly, many are drawn into the vortex of a beauty culture that often alienates them from their authentic heritage. High school girls, for instance, may undergo second or third-generation rhinoplasty, gradually drifting away from the unique beauty carried by their ancestors. The mask becomes a metaphor for hiding one's true self behind a facade that conforms to prevailing trends.
My photographs, taken while cocooned in my grandmother's furs and concealed behind the compression mask, embody cherished memories of a woman who remained ever-conscious of the fashion dictates shaping her life. By juxtaposing these images with wardrobe change photographs that mirror the fleeting fads and trends young people feel compelled to adopt to find acceptance, I invite viewers to confront the pervasive impact of external influences on their identities.
"Vanity" implores us to question the extent to which we are willing to conform, the sacrifices made for societal validation, and the valuable relationships that may be cast aside in the process. It urges individuals to challenge the status quo and embrace their unique heritage, unmasking their authentic selves free from societal pressures.
Through this evocative series, I encourage introspection and self-discovery, fostering a space where each viewer can consider whether they too may be wearing a metaphorical mask. The images act as a mirror, reflecting the profound consequences of conforming to a monotonous standard of beauty and inspire a call for embracing individuality with pride.
As the Vanity series continues to provoke contemplation and spark conversations, it serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of self-acceptance, self-expression, and reconnecting with our roots amid the ever-shifting currents of societal expectations.